Expert article_banner_Odour Control

How to prevent and remove odours in commercial fridges

Your commercial refrigerator can be a source of unpleasant odours which, if not controlled, can lead to food spoilage, and have a negative impact on your business. Whether the fridge is customer facing or used by staff, it is important to maintain a clean refrigerator to avoid health and safety issues.


Here are some effective odour control strategies to maintain a fresh and pleasant environment within your commercial fridge.

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What causes fridge smells?


The first step in eliminating fridge odours is to identify the cause.


  • Spoiled food – Among the most common causes of smell in your fridge is spoiled food. When food goes bad, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and other microorganisms that produce rotten odours. Cleaning fridge spills promptly can reduce ongoing odour problems.


  • Mould and mildew – If there is increased moisture content in the fridge, mould and mildew can thrive. Musty, earthy odours are tell-tale signs that there is a mould or mildew problem, and this must be investigated without delay.


  • Improper ventilation – If air cannot circulate properly inside the fridge, it can turn stale and stagnant and allow bacteria and mould to grow. Make sure your vents are not blocked and dust or food particles are removed to allow proper circulation.


  • Unit Maintenance – You can further eliminate the potential build-up of mould and consequential odour in areas such as your condensate pan by conducing regular servicing of your fridge.


  • Loose gaskets and seals – Gaskets and seals can cause excess moisture, leading to condensation, food spoilage, and mould growth. Additionally, cold air can leak out of the fridge, making it harder for the fridge to keep food at an appropriate temperature. This can lead to spoilage and unpleasant smells.


Even unaffected (non-spoiled) foods can be impacted by fridge odours from expired foods as odours can permeate through the rest of the contents in the fridge, rendering them unable to be consumed. So, how do you remove the smell? Keep reading for tips below.




How to remove the odour and clean your commercial refrigerator

Clear old inventory regularly and schedule a thorough cleaning of the fridge. If possible, empty the whole unit (put the contents into another fridge) and air it out.


Wipe the interior of the fridge, drawers, shelves, and compartments with a clean cloth and a non-scented, food-grade cleaning agent such as Dominant Bacban No Rinse Sanitiser. Clean the coils on the back of the refrigerator with a vacuum that has a brush attachment. The door gaskets (rubber seals) deserve attention as well because the folds can catch grime, crumbs, and other contaminants. Use a soft cloth and a mild soap and water solution to thoroughly clean the gaskets and dry them with a clean cloth afterwards.


If you find mould in the fridge gaskets, you can create a paste consisting of one part baking soda to one part water, with some lemon juice added if you like for a fresh fragrance. Leave it to set for five minutes then apply to the mouldy gasket. After two minutes, use a clean cloth to wipe away the mould. You could also spray on a weak bleach solution (one part bleach to at least seven parts water), or a vinegar solution (one part vinegar to two or three parts water). Wait for thirty seconds then wipe down the gasket again.


Sanitise the fridge all over, inside and out, with a solution of two tablespoons of bleach to four litres of water. Follow up with a clean, damp cloth. Be sure to also clean the drip pan under the fridge because any fluid build-up from condensation or spills can turn into smelly sludge.


Leave the fridge empty and open for about an hour and then turn back on and run empty for a couple of hours.



An image of a person peeling back the seal of a fridge.



Preventing fridge odours


There are several steps you can take to prevent odours from occurring:


  • Regularly clean the interior of the fridge to remove food particles or spills.


  • Maintain a close watch on expiry dates on foods and dispose of any spoiled foods promptly. It’s also important to ensure that foods with strong odours are stored in airtight, liquid-tight containers so that odours don’t escape.


  • Inspect the fridge for any signs of a leak such as water on the floor or condensation on the walls. Have leaks repaired without delay.


  • Perform regular check of coils and remove any dirt and debris.



An image of a person putting in a container of air tight food into a freezer.




How to know if gaskets/seals need replacing


On a commercial refrigerator, gaskets (rubber seals) should be inspected every twelve months so that the fridge continues to run efficiently and keep food safe. However, you should also keep an eye on them for any signs of damage or wear and tear.


Close the door of the fridge and press down on the gasket. If it’s tight, it will form a good seal around the door. Gaps and tears in gaskets may indicate it needs to be replaced.


To have your commercial refrigerator’s gaskets replaced, simply contact Bromic customer service or your local fridge technician for assistance.




Could it be the ventilation and airflow?


Overloading your commercial refrigerator can cause airflow issues which mean the food inside is unable to cool properly. As a result, there is a higher chance of food spoilage and unpleasant odours. At Bromic, we always recommend following the specific loading limit to prevent these problems. They will vary according to the unit you have and should be visible on the sticker inside the cabinet. Alternatively, consult your fridge’s specific user manual for more details.


If you notice an oily or smoky smell coming from the cabinet, contact Bromic service immediately.




If in doubt, always call a qualified technician


If you are in doubt about any functional issues with your commercial fridge, it is best to call a qualified technician as soon as possible so you can continue to operate your business without delay. Bromic’s customer service team has a team of qualified technicians across Australia are ready to assist you. Our team operates 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Call us on 02 9426 5222 and we would be happy to help!


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